Café Society

Guest Blogger, HFL -

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Cafe Society

There are many types of bikes that one can purchase. Whether it be a bagger, sportbike or cruiser, there is a plethora of bikes that fit most personalities. And through the years, fads and customization trends have come and gone (thankfully, some of them were hideous). One technique, however, has stood the test of time and is still bringing devotees within its influence, the café racer.

Less about accessories and more about, well, less, the café racer is an iconic and integral part of motorcycling. Born out of the post-war era of Britain, the café racer was an ideal style of motorcycle for those seeking thrills. With a venerable selection of manufacturers to choose from, enthusiasts could have the bike of their dreams. By essentially removing all excess parts from a production bike, a cafe racer is built for one purpose, speed.

Cafe Society

And therein lies the reason why I have a café racer, more specifically, a 1971 Norton Commando. My foray into bikes started one rainy day while I was wandering the streets of London. On a small, nondescript street I happened upon a dusty old bike shop with an old man at its helm. Sitting smack in the middle of his collection of rusted and forlorn bikes was my future motorcycle. At that point, I didn’t even know how to ride a bike, but after seeing the slick lines of the Norton and listening to the storied history of the brand at places like the Isle of Man, I was determined to learn to ride and to have that bike.

Cafe Society

Fast forward six years and a complete restoration of my Commando and I have to say that there is absolutely nothing else I would rather own. The thrill and pride of ownership that comes from building your own engine, transmission, wiring and painting of a bike is like nothing else. However, there are times when even that gets old. Luckily for me, I found people who share the same enthusiasm for British motorcycles. Based in Southern California is a club called the Brit Iron Rebels, of which I am a member. The main requirement of the club is that you must own and ride a British bike.

Having the opportunity to ride and share experiences, both happy and sad, with a bunch of cool people is an excitement all its own. You see, café racers tend to attract a slice of humanity that is both laid-back and crazy, either way, it’s always a fun time. And if you ever need a hand in an emergency or need a damn Whitworth spanner, someone always comes to the rescue.

Cafe Society

The high times of cafe racers were the 1950′s and 60′s of both the United States and Britain. So naturally, rolled up jeans, black leather jackets and badass music is de rigueur. Riding through the canyons of Angeles Crest or Mulholland Highway is always fun with a group of likeminded individuals. Being a café racer is like leading a double life. During the week I am a straight-laced writer for a very uptight publication, but on weekends, I get out of the snobby realm, throw on my worn out Levis, hit the road and twist the grip as far as my Norton will allow. I can’t ask for anything more than that!

  • Reid

    The difference between a classicist and a hipster is the former’s love for the spirit of the past and the latter’s love for the aesthetics. Essentially, they’re posers. The ton-up boys of the ’60s are the sweet Gixxer, bros of today. Time marches on.

    • Rob M

      Pretty much what I was going to say. The cafe racer of the past may have been all about “speed” or simplicity or whatever, but modern cafes are all about image. If it was all about speed, they’d be on super sports. If it was all about simplicity, they’d be on UJMs. Not that it’s all bad, but it’s not some holistic search for blah blah blah. It’s just like the Harley/cruiser clans, and much of society, searching for a tribe, creating an image.

      • Reid

        Exactly. It’s too bad there is no such thing as a UJM anymore…except the CB500F, but that’s not quite the same thing.

        • Thomas Høj Jørgensen

          mt-07!

      • Divayth Faust

        Can we at least say that doing something for image isn’t always bad? Riding a motorcycle for the pure purpose of image is pretty bad, but riding a particular type of motorcycle whose aesthetics appeal to you isn’t really bad, is it? There seems to be so much resentment for guys with café racers just because it is currently associated with hipsters. I love the look of café racers, does that make me a hipster?

        • Lee Scuppers

          I hope nobody’s quite as reflexively dismissive as that.

        • zedro

          It’s Elite Motorcyclists™ vs the Poseur Hipsters™…..who will win the grand douche award? This isn’t just a hobby people, this is life itself!!!! Or something something…..

    • Jonathan Berndt

      exactly!!!

    • Gonfern

      This is by far the most insightful comments here. Its all in perspective. The good ‘ol ton-up stories are told through the mouths of nostalgic old men who only remember the romance. Imagine the retrospect of 40 years had those future punks not had a second-by second account documented all over the interwebs. What would my story to my grandkids sound like? Replace “circa 1960″ with “Circa 2010″ replace “sweet Norton Commando” with “Sweet Gixxer bro” Replace “Ace cafe” with “The Rockstore” The story is the same. One has greasy pomps, the other has helmet mohawks. One story has rockabilly, the other has dubstep. One had lucky strike cigarettes, the other has redbull. One story has a bunch of Rockers starting barfights, the other has a bunch of Squids ripping families out of their Landrovers and beating them in the streets. Classic bikes do nothing better than today’s bikes. If you insist on a Cafe Racer, it is based 100% on looks and style, and that is the meaning of posing.

  • Ayabe

    Picture says all I need to know, cool goggles kids, do you put them over your shades or are they just too fashionable to leave at home?

  • Koczk

    The problem with this group of riders, in particular, (and every group has its problems), is that ‘cafe racers’ are often the least-skilled riders on the road, while wearing the least gear. Style triumphs over safety and substance in all circumstances.

    They are either rubs (rich, urban bikers), or young hipsters, or both, and they would never dream of riding the slightest bit out of town for fear of breaking 80km/h (50mph).

    I even have a friend out west who recently started riding on my recommendation. He bought a little Honda CBR125 – great starter bike. But then he met a bunch of cafe racer buddies who are trying to get him to trade in the CBR for an old cafe-style ’73 Honda with tons of problem. Apparently, this used cafe racer he wants often shifts into neutral with no warning, but his cafe friends’ bikes all do stuff like that, so it’s cool right? (He messaged me last week to ask my opinion)

    So in conclusion, I’ve got an old friend who has been riding just a few months, and I already hate talking to him about riding. And it’s because he’s a ‘cafe racer’ now.

    • hunkyleepickle

      on the flip side, i’d rather deal with a guy who has a total shi$$er bike, but rides it day in day out, rather than these 20,000$ adv/sport bike/harley guys who only take their bikes out when the weather is fair and the roads are bone dry.

      • Jack Meoph

        There’s something to be said about FWRs (Fair Weather Riders).

        1. They stay dry.
        2. Cleaning intervals are longer.
        3. Chains last almost 10K miles.
        4. They can see more than 30 ft. down the road.
        5. Hydroplaning is something you have to choose to do.
        The older you get, the less appealing “real” motorcycle riding becomes. Wait till you get past 50, and then tell me how great you feel after riding in inclement weather. You’ll be whistling a different tune, if you still have your teeth.

        • Doug Erickson

          i’m soaking wet in a diner after 100ish miles in the rain, and right now, you are The Wisest Person on These Internets. why th’ hell’d i do this to myself again?

    • Tom Byrne

      Least equipment? Challenge, I see many more baby boomer cruiser riders riding in t-shirts, shorts and with no helmet than any other group. And talk about bad ergonomics, as bad as clip-one can be, ape hangers are worse. I find bikes with forward controls ands raked forks much harder to ride an a cafe racer. Still, I see nothing wrong with going for any look as long as it doesn’t hurt performance. That being said, I use super bike bars and cafe-like seats built on OEM seat pans on my bikes. I like them.

    • Robs

      I have actually ridden with the group shown in the photo…on the annual SoCal Norton club’s ride to Ojai to hang out at Guy Webster’s collection. They are excellent riders, most of them are “mature” types that have been riding since the 60s and 70s. Nearly all of them have multiple bikes. Sorry to hear about your friend though…that 125 would likely smoke most of his “friend’s” ratty old cafe racers =)

  • http://motocynic.wordpress.com/ Scott Otte

    Function > Form.
    I love all motorcycles and all riders, I just just don’t understand some of them.

  • Jonathan Berndt

    good god people, do you think that if Cafe racers of the 60s had a choice between a Triumph or a Panigale they’d opt for a leaky Triumph? they were about performance, they just didnt have anything better back then. time marches on and so does technology, its a good thing!

    • Lee Scuppers

      In fairness, taking a bike and making it go faster *yourself* is cooler than buying a Gixxer on tick, even if the Gixxer is faster.

      On the third hand, making it hip-looking but ergonomically godawful and not actually faster is just retarded.

      • hunkyleepickle

        to be fair, you would have to throw an obscene amount of money at your average ‘cafe racer’ to get it to the level of a stock gixxer. Not saying either is ‘better’, but today’s supersports have the benefit of 25 plus years of R&D money from the largest bike companies in the world.

        • Lee Scuppers

          Right, I mentioned that the new sport bike is faster. I was talking about the difference between building something, and taking out a loan. Some people get a lot of satisfaction out of working on their own bikes. For some people, “make it go faster than it did” is more fun than “buy something faster than the thing the other guy bought”. Hotrodding stuff is cool. The process of hotrodding itself, not just the result. The process.

          Then you have the morons who buy “cafe racers” somebody else mutilated. And the whole fashion victim thing.

          I am not a cafe racer person at all. I like sane ergonomics and I like old bikes well maintained and restored, not cut up. But I’ve met a couple of guys who knew infinitely more about bikes than me, who were into customizing bikes, and they weren’t poseur retards. Or fashion victims either, by the way.

      • E Brown

        So you’re unfamiliar with the “streetfighter” trend? Removing the fairing on sport bikes, making cosmetic changes, etc.

    • daveinva

      If you think swapping a Triumph for a Panigale saves you from leaking oil, you’re unfamiliar with owning a Panigale.

      Was in line at the mechanic a few weeks back with two Panigale owners, both in for raging leaks. One of them even took to sticking little pieces of blue painter’s tape over the places where it leaked in order to show the mechanic– the 10 or so pieces stuck to both sides of the engine made it look like the Duc cut itself shaving.

      • Mark D

        “Its just-a breaking itself in-a!”

  • bammerburn

    “By essentially removing all excess parts from a production bike, a cafe racer is built for one purpose, speed.”

    In today’s world, I believe this means a minimalistic, streetfightered and handlebar’d SuperSport. Streetfighter SuperSports go for $2000-3000 today, and they typically come with top-bin suspension parts and are engineered to go hard and FAST. I just sold a 2004 ZX-6R streetfighter for $2500, a bike that was quite a hairy ride and was as fast as a $115,000 Audi R8. And since I live in a small city, an urban area basically, I didn’t want to care enough for the appearance of the bike so it was scratched up here and there but mechanically solid. Cafe racers, to me, are just posers strutting off old-hat bikes, and I know people would rather steal cafe racers than a scratched up streetfighter. So, today’s “generation” of cafe racers… a different thing from what people actually think.

  • JOE

    I can respect the appreciation of the past. I love old bikes. I enjoy working on them too. I don’t ride one because I need to get to work everyday (therefore I’m clearly not a hipster).

    The problem is not the decision to ride a 50 year old bike. The problem is the douche doing his best Brando/McQueen impersonation on his 50 year old bike (sitting on a curbside somewhere, because they don’t actually ride anywhere) and judging everyone else like they are doing it wrong. It always comes back to the hipsters. I carry peanuts in my pockets to ward them off. (It works, they’re all allergic!)
    Haha

    • E Brown

      I never understand the whole “they don’t GO anywhere” criticism. If a bunch of squids on CBRs and GSXs headed out for a ride one Sunday an hour after a club like the one in the article, they’d find themselves riding the same roads within 30 minutes, because they’re the essentially the same sort of bikes and riders. Someone with a SF848 or CBR600RR isn’t going anywhere either, and if someone AskedRideApart about riding long distance on one this forum would verbally beat them like a red-headed step-mule.

      • JOE

        Agreed. Same concept, different costume. In both scenarios, the bike is used as an accessory for the fashion show. Those who actually enjoy riding, tend to do so on their own, and usually tend to be less fashion conscious.

        • Tom Byrne

          Except for sunny day commutes on my Katana, I usually ride on weekends for an hour or two at a time just for pleasure. I really don’t go any where. Am I somehow less of a motorcyclist? Yeah right, bullsh*t.

          • Gonfern

            Agreed, I ONLY ride to nowhere! I like every experience on my bike to be enjoyable, so I keep it out of the unpleasant situations. My Washington DC commute is the most miserable experience known to man…why would I introduce that kind of frustration into my passion for my bike? People say motorcycles make commuting more enjoyable? Maybe if you have good roads on your commute or live in LA where you can lane-split, it may be more enjoyable. There is nothing fun about 15 miles of stop and go on an 8 lane slab of boiling hot concrete. I guess it doesnt make me a real biker either, but my bike only comes out on the weekends at dawn, I suit up, fuel up, head out toward the West Virginia line, scrape my knee pucks down some twisty roads until my face hurts from smiling and home by lunch. I usually do 200 mile loops and stop only for fuel. If i do it right, no one has to know I even own motorcycles.

            • Tom Byrne

              I used to commute from the Poconos to NYC (20+ years). I did that by bus. Now my commute is 30 minutes from my house on a mountain to Stroudsburg. On nice days, I will take my Katana. There are times (particularly when there is an accident on I80) the local roads will back up. That can be frustrated. I won’t ride my bike on I80 in the Poconos. One needs a death wish to do that as there is a tractor-trailer accident per week here in Monroe County.

    • Timothy Gray

      There are far more of the Harley “fake biker” types out there that have been doing it for decades already. When your sunglasses,vest,shirt,belt,underwear,socks,boots and fingerless gloves all have the same logo as your bike… you are not in it for the motorcycle you are in it for the fashon. The hipsters are a minority and simply took their cues from the Harley elitist crowd.

      I respect a persons choice of ride if they respect the ride and others rides. The big bad biker on a old Triumph chopper that looks at my BMW at a stop light and says, “nice bike” is a brother biker. The guy that only rides from bar to bar and says, “your kind is not welcome here” when I ride something that is not a 1950′s styling throwback is not a biker nor a brother but simply a poseur.

      Sadly many of these hipsters think the attitude is a part of riding.

      • Tom Byrne

        Exactly. Two years ago, I was out on a Tuesday evening in the summer with my 75 GT380, waiting at a stop light, when a guy who appeared to be in his 50s rode up next to me on a teal Sportster asked what year my bike was and said “nice bike.” I thanked him and said the same (it was a nice looking Sportster). I remember he was wearing a helmet jacket and jeans (could not tell if they were riding jeans). There was nothing fake about his appearance or attitude. That is the way I think this hobby should be.

  • Bill

    Point of the story….his bike makes him smile. Don’t over think it.

  • blackcayman

    I hope they are Kevlar Jeans at least…

    • hunkyleepickle

      i think the “Hang out” bikers pretty much applies to all styles of bikes. Harley guys, check. Sportbike power rangers, check. Fully farkled adv bike guys, check. At my local bike friendly cafe’s, i see all styles represented these days. To each their own i guess. When i see a starbucks loaded with bikers, i’ll stop, have a quick coffee and a gander at whats cool and shiny, and then get back on the road, where my bike belongs.

    • http://badnewsweekly.com/ Chuck Ludwig

      I have a Thruxton and Dayton 675. I affectionately call the Thruxton my poser bike. I love it for what it is, but if I had to pick one bike, it would be the Daytona. After having both, the Thruxton just seems really really slow and way too heavy.
      BUT if you’re trying to get chicks, get a Thruxton. It is a split-tail magnet.

    • Gonfern

      I must take issue with your term “legit everyday riders.” why is riding only on the weekends not “legit?” Trust me, I have huge respect for those guys that throw an aerostich over their suit and lug their bike off to work. But not all of us want to sit in traffic (yes, unless you live in CA, the rest of the country has to sit in traffic) and get to work tired, sweaty, messy and uncomfortable. Having an office job does not make one a less hardcore biker. But maybe I am biased. I am one of those that only takes the bike out of the garage on Sunday mornings at dawn…when the roads are empty. I put on my “persona” as you called it, and put on my riding attire ( 1 pc. suit) and head out to the “spot” (closest twisty road.) I am a weekend worrior. There’s no shame in loving motorcycles as a hobby, just as there is no shame as loving motorcycles for the cheap mode of transportation. Taking that view of weekend warriors is like me snubbing my nose at Mister Aerostich for never touching knee. Theres nothing wrong with greasing up your pomp and cruising your overpriced, geometrically ruined Bonneville down to the local throwback for some posturing against a street sign while discussing the finer points of rockabilly. The important part is that they got there on 2 wheels.

  • Guest

    I’m just gonna leave this here

  • Harvard J. Nasty, Esq.

    I’m just gonna leave this here.

    • Mark D

      ::sniff:: That was beautiful.

    • Lee Scuppers

      What he said.

    • RumbleStrips

      That’s just perfect.

  • Fast Freddy Rapillo

    I ride a Harley bobber, but I love sport bikes, UJM’s, classic bikes from the 40s through the 70s… if it’s got two wheels, I pretty much like it

  • E Brown

    It’s weird to me how divided the motorcycle community is about cafe racers. We’re motorcyclists. Then Came Bronson? Easy Rider? Zen and the Art Of…? Riders used to be seen as philosophical free spirits, easy-going, unconventional, open-minded.This is the bike equivalent of those guys building AC Cobras, Bullitt Mustangs, Gulf Racing E-Types and 911RS replicas from the same period and the car world is enthusiastic about those rides; heck, writers are wetting themselves over the Singer 911 and you could get a crap load of modern cars that are faster, safer, etc for what those cost. I don’t see how the author’s club is worse than the Gruppe R guys trying to make longhoods out of everything.

    • BobasBounty

      The thing is though that the guys who have old/replica cars are generally normal dudes (rich or otherwise) who happen to have a passion for owning a second third whatever car they drive a few times a year. The hipster/cafe crowd, in my experience, want to gush all over you about their “lifestyle” and how much more “soul” and “vintage coolness” their bike has, all the while turning their nose up at everything else.

      I’ve yet to meet a car guy who gives two squats about someone’s ford focus, but as soon as someone bebops by the local starbucks on a CBR600, the hipster/cafe kids act like it hurts them to see someone riding on something with fuel injection that doesn’t need a mechanical overhaul (paid to a mechanic, because I’ve never met a hipster with mechanical aptitude beyond guitar chords) every other week. It’s not so much THEIR “lifestyle” as it is that they take every opportunity to let you know why yours is wrong. All the while wearing their limited edition remake levi 6048 McQueen jeans with a jacket they bought because Brando wore it on a movie set.

      • E Brown

        If that’s your experience, you know some VASTLY different cafe riders from the ones I know. I can’t think of anyone who doesn’t own a modern motorcycle, so I can’t picture them whining about someone else having one.

        As for cafe racing attire – the entire motorcycle scene is full of people playing dress-up. Guys on Repsol reps with multi-color competition leathers, people on Ducatis looking like Dianese had a black-out and they looted the place, folks on Harleys trying to look like Peter Fonda, folks on Honda/Yamaha/Suzuki cruisers trying to look like they ride Harleys, hipsters on Vespas trying to look bohemian, folks on UJMs trying to look like it’s still the 70s, folks on BMWs pretending they’re Ewan MacGregor. You can’t take potshots at one group and give a pass to the others, so you accept that this is part of the riding scene, even if it’s not how you yourself ride.

  • Mark D

    “a cafe racer is built for one purpose, speed.” Yeah, ok. I liked playing dressed up when I was young, too. Thing is, I never thought I was a real cowboy.

    http://i1.kym-cdn.com/entries/icons/original/000/005/498/1300044776986.jpg

  • Richard Gozinya

    Cafe racers aren’t my thing. But ride what you love, and love what you ride. Everything else is crap.

    • Tom Byrne

      Agreed. I have a 70 CB450, a 71 T250, a 75 GT380, a 79 CB400 and an 89 750 Katana. I love all these bikes. I love my 70s bikes because I made them run and personalized them. I like the Katana because it makes a fun commuter bike. I like modern bikes (particularly the new FZ-09), but not enough to plunk down that kind of cash or financing, although I can.
      I like working on bikes (at least) as much as I like riding them. I don’t need fuel injection, abs, headed grips, etc. I just need two wheels a well running bike and the wind in my face. Riding my GT380 on back roads is more fun than high speeds on my Katana. Modern bikes are nice (few are nice looking), but I certainly don’t need one to enjoy motorcycling.

  • Robotribe

    I’m kinda torn by this. I currently ride british bikes (modern) and subscribe to a little bit of the fashion sense as depicted in the above photos, but the more I look at those photos, the more affirmed I am in my choice of riding solo for decades now. Something about homogenous-looking groups of people in any variety of subculture creeps me out.

    • Mark D

      Modern Bonneville are good bikes on their own merits as a usable motorcycle, and they look killer. Dressing up like those guys is for nerds.

      • Thomas Høj Jørgensen

        I’d argue the good bikes part. Lot’s of things on them need fixing. Lots. But I guess they’re reliable, if thats what you mean!

        • Mark D

          For the price they are well-sorted runabouts. Most bikes in that price range with unadjustable forks need suspension work, or uprated brake pads/lines, better ties, and ergo tweaks to suit a rider. Compared to other new $8k bikes, they hold their own.

  • Rowan

    Today’s Café Racers are just hipsters wearing skinny vintage Japanese denim, stupid prescription wayfarer glasses – even though they don’t actually need to wear them – with their oiled beards and a short back and side haircut trying so desperately hard to look as nonchalant in those stupid sepia Instagram posts that they do every day.

    It’s a goddamn fashion statement. I hope they break down as much as every roadside-fix-it-job 10 second clip of their YouTube film, perfectly edited 4min exposé to “cool”.

    Side Q: How come those hipster clips are so out of focus when they are using the most expensive Canon that a skinny well-to-do white boy can buy?

    Muppets the lot of them.

    Sorry for my grammar or spelling, The Rage makes me press these keys as fast as I can before the red mist descends.

    • Rowan

      Fucking black electrical tape on headlights!!!!!!!!
      AAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Dave

    I love cafe racers. But not because they’re better bikes, or that those who ride them are better human beings. It’s about my aging and the experience of familiar things falling by the wayside and my struggling to keep up. Vintage stuff simply gives me an opportunity to get off the train for a minute and be at peace with “stuff” that transports my mind to simpler, and usually happier, times. Those who weren’t alive when these bikes were new (my son is one) sometimes struggle to fully appreciate what they mean to the people who were, but they seem to still be attracted to them. I think it’s because we all innately want happier and simpler.

  • JOE

    Let’s just face it. Everyone alive, besides me, is a poser douchebag. Can we all agree that we feel the same way? And the worst of them are hipsters. Maybe they all ride honda 350s because it’s all their 90lb. frames can handle, especially in such tight jeans. Let’s hope those jeans squeeze the life out of their junk, so maybe our children will not have to deal with their children. Then we can all go back to riding vintage bikes and wearing black framed glasses (as I’ve been doing for the past 25 years) without feeling weird about it.

  • Markus

    I would call it a crisis of gender identity.

  • Jack Meoph

    I’m not a motorcyclist, but I play one on TV.

  • Tom Byrne

    Wait, if you buy a bike for styling you are some kind of poser or hipster? Style, colors image impacts almost everyone’s purchasing decisions. Although I can believe that the modern bike only crowd into about styling as dew modern bikes, particularity ADV bikes, are aesthetically pleasing. Damn good rides, but look beat in the dark.

  • Tom Byrne

    Reasons I drive old vehicles:
    They are fun to work on.
    Transforming an old hulk into a sweet ride gives me a sense of accomplishment.
    Easy to work on and I prefer to do my own work.
    Styling is often better than modern vehicles and form matters as much as function to me.
    I like going to cruise nights and such with my wife. Dressing up in retro t-shirts and jeans is fun, but we do not take it seriously.
    Modern vehicle enthusiasts tend to be too serious and practical. They act as if the ability to, sign loan papers to own the latest whatever is an accomplishment and lets the world know that they have their act together.
    Old vehicles are fun. They are my toys. I like building them, painting them and enjoy the compliments I get for my work. I will probably get n FZ-09 by next spring, but that is just an appliance to me, a cold easy to ride toaster. It is what it is.

    • Robs

      FZ-09 might be relatively inexpensive, and about as simple as a modern moto gets, but it is no toaster! The damned thing is a hoot to ride! IT really shines when you start pushing it. The triple makes great music too. You have chosen wisely my friend =)

      As a rider that started in the 70s, I’m partial to UJMs…my current ride is a 2001 Bandit 1200S. Bought with 7000 miles for $2000 three years ago, it does triple duty: Commuter, sport tourer, and, with the plastics removed, a surprisingly fun track bike. Carbs, owner adjustable valves, abundance of aftermarket, cheap…great bike.

      • Robs

        touring mode

      • Tom Byrne

        Believe me. I like the bike. I love triples (I own one) and I like the prices. However, I don’t like the way it looks. If Yamaha put that engine into something that resembled a Bonneville and had it weigh less than 400lbs, I would be all over it now, even if I had to sell one of my treasured (to me) classics to make room. My toaster comment comes from the fact that I cannot get attached to a bike that is angular and looks like an exercise in avant-garde transportation art. Give it some soul, some curves, a round headlight, a rounded fuel tank, etc. Let it look like a motorcycle. Otherwise it will simply replace my current toaster, my GSXF 750 Katana.

        • Robs

          Hmmm. I like your idea. Sort of an updated version of their shaftie triple 750 from the late 70s. If Honda can make their retro looking 1100, why not Yamaha?

          • Tom Byrne

            Exactly! Doesn’t have to be a cafe bike, just a clean UJM, stylish, but not gaudy. Fuel injection, liquid cooling and other modern equipment is fine. Many of us who like the styling. Ok, I like hot rodding old bikes and I love the challenge of bringing them back to life, but I would love a modern bike with classic looks which can be ridden daily and be easily personalized. The Honda CB1100 is nice, but I don’t want a large displacement bite costing five figures. The FZ-09 is priced right, as is the Triumph Bonneville. Now if someone would only combine the two.

  • Mr. White

    I don’t understand insulting and dismissing an entire group as bad and “hipster” (which has gotten to be pretty darn overused lately). Every subculture of motorcycle culture has it’s pretenders, dilettantes and posers. If someone wants to dress like it’s London in 1962 and ride a vintage Brit bike…or even a cafe-d out Japanese bike, let them. Live and let live. I’d rather see them out and about then the crowd that wants to make believe they’re in Sons of Anarchy.

    • Tom Byrne

      Because all real motorcyclists ride newer bikes and wear full leathers. Only real motorcyclists ride in the rain and travel great distances. Anyone who rides just for fun is a poser. It is funny that people who bash one group do so because other people don’t belong to their group. There can only be one correct group you know

  • Tom Byrne

    One last thing, I have ridden my CB400 and GT380 on 100 mile rides and the GT is quite nice at 80

  • noblsht

    Whenever the subject of some genre of powered two wheelers appears, the idea of what’s cool or uncool makes an appearance. Cool is not something you create yourself but rather something granted to you by others. Life’s too short to beat that old dead horse, just ride…..and wave once in awhile.